BOSTON – Nicklas Backstrom scored 2:56 into the second overtime Saturday to give the Washington Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins and tie the first-round playoff series at a game apiece.
Braden Holtby stopped 43 shots for Washington in his second career postseason game.
Tim Thomas made 37 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Troy Brouwer opened the scoring for the Capitals in the second period, and Benoit Pouliot tied it with 7:47 left in regulation.
Early in the second overtime, Washington won a faceoff in the Boston zone and Marcus Johansson got the puck from behind the net. He passed it to Backstrom at the left faceoff circle and he wristed it past Thomas on his stick side.
Thomas barely moved as the puck sailed by his blocker. As soon as it hit the back of the net, he quickly headed for the locker room while the Capitals congratulated each other in the same corner of the rink where Boston celebrated its single-overtime Game 1 victory.
Game 3 is Monday night in Washington.
The first game remained scoreless into overtime, when Chris Kelly scored after 1:18 to give the Bruins the edge in the best-of-seven series. The defenses dominated again Saturday, though each team did manage to break through once in regulation.
The Capitals took their first lead of the series when Brouwer poked a puck out of the crease and under Thomas, who was blocked by Bruins defenseman Greg Zanon. That ended Thomas' postseason shutout streak at 161:41 — a span that included shutouts in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and Game 1 of this series.
Boston tied it when Kelly's shot was deflected and left trickling into the center of the ice. Holtby moved out to get it, but Pouliot beat him there, chipping it over the charging goaltender and into the net just before he barreled over Holtby and sent him sprawling.
It was Pouliot's first career playoff goal.
Notes: Washington had 16 shots in the first two periods, just one fewer than they had in the series opener. ... Bruins F David Krejci was in the lineup despite being hit by a falling pane from the boards during the postgame celebration on Thursday. ... Thomas gave a two-handed shove Backstrom in the third period when he was swiping at a covered puck in the crease. ... Bruins coach Claude Julien said backup G Tuukka Rask (lower abdomen) would need to get back into shape before returning. He has not played since March 3. ... The Bruins hadn't won a 1-0 overtime game in the playoffs since 1935. The winning goal in that one was scored by Hall of Famer Dit Clapper. ... Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was at the game.